The grape juice king moves into refreshment and canned cocktails with help from new agency Fitzco and a new look from Sterling Brands

Welch’s is undergoing a rebrand meant to remind consumers that the company is more than just grapes.

The 154-year-old farmer-owned cooperative has named a new creative agency of record, Fitzco, which has launched a new branding campaign called “Let’s Fruit Stuff Up.”

The program—which includes a sizable uptick in media spending—is intended to bring a new energy to the Welch’s brand by harnessing the colors and flavors of fruits, versus a previous focus on pastoral farm scenes. It comes as the brand aims to better deliver on what today’s consumers today want—lighter and more refreshing products and low- and no-sugar options—in addition to its core of fuller-calorie juices, foods and snacks, said Scott Utke, chief marketing officer for parent company Welch Foods. A new alcohol partnership is also on the way that will involve canned cocktails set for a spring debut in partnership with Oklahoma City-based alcohol marketer Coop Aleworks.

“We’ve been around for 150 years and we’ve been very consistent. But sometimes your greatest strength becomes your greatest weakness. So for us, part of it was we didn’t change with the times fast enough as a brand,” Utke said.

“People know us for our bold flavors,” he continued. “But at the end of the day, when we talk to consumers and ask what do you think about Welch’s, it’s like, ‘You guys are a big jug of grape juice for kids.’ That hurts, because we stand for so much more than that.”

The rebrand accompanies a sizable increase in media spend, Utke said. “It’s huge for Welch’s.Especially for our business that’s owned by a farmers’ coop, it’s been great that they’ve been willing to invest back in the business,” Utke said. “When I started about a little over two years ago, we had a modest budget. I mean, we had less than $10 million to spend. And we’ve increased our budget over 300% over the last two years.”

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